The Texas Center for the Book at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has announced its Texas Great Read titles for 2023. The Center has chosen Nell Plants a Tree by Anne Wynter, illustrated by Daniel Miyares, as the 2023 Texas Great Read Youth Selection and West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge as the 2023 Texas Great Read Adult Selection!
Every year, the Library of Congress asks each state Center for the Book to select titles that represent the state’s literary landscape to highlight at the National Book Festival, an event showcasing the importance of books and reading. This year’s festival will be held August 12 in Washington, DC, and online. Check out the Library of Congress website for details.
The Texas Center for the Book invites Texans to read Nell Plants a Tree and West with Giraffes and to take part in a statewide book club by using the hashtag #TXGreatRead on social media. For more information on the 2023 Texas Great Read Program, visit www.tsl.texas.gov/greatreadtexas.
About the Youth Selection, Nell Plants a Tree
Before her grandchildren climbed the towering tree, explored its secret nests, raced to its sturdy trunk, read in its cool shade, or made pies with its pecans… Nell buried a seed. And just as Nell’s tree grows and thrives with her love, so do generations of her close-knit family.
Inspired by the pecan trees of her own childhood, Anne Wynter’s lyrical picture book, brought to life with gorgeous illustrations by Daniel Miyares, brims with wonder and love.
Anne Wynter is also the Ezra Jack Keats Honor-winning author of Everybody in the Red Brick Building, illustrated by Oge Mora; and board books One Big Day, and Hands On!, both illustrated by Alea Marley. She earned a degree in theatre from Washington University in St. Louis. Originally from Houston, she currently lives in Austin with her family. For more information, visit www.annewynter.com.
Illustrator Daniel Miyares’ books include Float, Night Out, That Is My Dream!, Bring Me A Rock!, and Big and Small and In-between. He lives in Lenexa, Kansas, with his wife, their two wonderful children and a dog named Violet. For more information, visit www.danielmiyares.com.
Nell Plants a Tree was published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers in 2023.
About the Adult Selection, West with Giraffes
It’s 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a 12-day road trip to deliver southern California’s first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Inspired by true events, this tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including the world’s first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates as spotty as the giraffes.
Lynda Rutledge, a freelance journalist for 25 years, holds an MFA in creative writing, a BA and MA in American literature and has won numerous awards and residencies. Her first novel, Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale, won the Writers’ League of Texas 2013 Novel of the Year award and was made into a film. She uncovered the remarkable untold story that inspired West with Giraffes in a pile of yellowed 1938 news clippings. She and her husband and resident dog live outside Austin. For more information, visit www.lyndarutledge.com.
West with Giraffes was published Lake Union Publishing, an imprint of Amazon Publishing in 2021.
Established in 1987, the Texas Center for the Book seeks to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy and libraries. The Center builds partnerships with library professionals, educators, authors, publishers, and booksellers who provide support to our shared mission of promoting a love of literature throughout the Lone Star State. The Texas Center for the Book is under the direction of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at the Lorenzo De Zavala State Archives and Library Building in Austin, Texas.